Back and Neck Pain

There are several reasons why back and neck pain may occur. Workouts, sports, and even sitting at a desk all day can put a strain on the neck and back, leading to pain and discomfort. While some conditions may require surgery, non-invasive treatments like physical therapy often lead to better long-term outcomes and should generally be the first line of defense.
Neck pain can occur due to a muscle strain, a sprain in one of the ligaments or tendons in the neck, disc injury, arthritic changes, or trauma. This can be caused by an injury, like whiplash, or from straining the neck during everyday activities. Physical therapists at University Physical Therapy will evaluate you to identify the cause of the pain and then provide therapy to alleviate the pain. Treatments may include strengthening and conditioning exercises, flexibility exercises, instruction on proper posture, joint mobilization to ensure proper vertebral alignment and improve range of motion of the neck, nerve mobilization to provide pain relief, and massage.
Back pain is mostly caused by muscle sprains and strains from overuse, lack of strength in that region, arthritis, herniated or ruptured discs, age-related disc degeneration, poor body mechanics in everyday activities, trauma, or simply from poor posture over time. Physical therapists often use a lot of the same modes of treatments as they would use for neck pain, as well as exercises that strengthen the shoulders and the lower/upper back for more support in the spine.
Each case of back pain is different, and we evaluate each patient independently before developing a therapy program. In many cases, we focus our treatment on core stabilization exercises to strengthen the muscles in the abdominals and the pelvic area, which support the lower back. Other treatments may include instruction in proper posture and body mechanics for home, work, and recreational actives, joint mobilization for alignment and flexibility of the spine, massage, traction to decrease spinal compression, and modalities such as ice, heat, and electrical stimulation for pain relief.
Physical therapy is an effective treatment for both neck and back pain. Your physical therapist can help provide you with strategies to prevent future episodes of neck and back pain. By putting in the work with your physical therapist, you may be able to quickly eliminate the pain, return to normal activity, and function quickly and safely.